After an amazing debut in 2012, Ed had a lot to live up to with his sophomore album ‘X‘. Fortunately for Ed, his popularity shows no sign of abating. Lead single ‘Sing‘ granted him his first number 1 in the UK; ‘Thinking Out Loud‘, his second number 1 single, became his highest charting song in the States, peaking at number 4; and his album became both the best and fastest selling album of 2014 in Britain, selling over 1.7 million copies. With the album spending a 12th week at number 1 at the time of writing, and with sales not seen since Adele’s ‘21‘ in 2010, it is clear that Mr Sheeran’s phenomenal success shall continue well into 2015.
You had to feel a little sorry for Sam at the start of 2014. After winning both the Brit Awards Critics Choice and BBC sound of 2014, everyone expected big things from the up and coming English singer songwriter, and as such pressure for a successful debut album was high. Luckily, he not only met these expectations, but exceeded them. Both his first single ‘Money on my Mind‘ and second single ‘Stay With Me‘ made number 1 and his album ‘In the Lonely Hour‘ was the best selling debut album of the year, and was only beaten by Ed in terms of sales. The fact that he has achieved huge success in America, with both his album and ‘Stay With Me‘ reaching number 2, is the icing on the cake.
Arguably the biggest female pop star at the moment, Taylor Swift has once again achieved her most successful album to date, with ‘1989‘ landing at number 1 with sales of over 90,000, meaning that she had the fastest selling album by a female in 2014. Both singles have made the top 5, with ‘Shake It Off‘ reaching platinum status and ‘Blank Space‘ spending a 7th week in the top 10 at the time of writing. In her native America the album has spent 7 weeks at number 1 and is the best selling album of 2014 with over 3.6 million copies sold. With more singles to follow, plus a confirmed performance at the Brit Awards in February, she is set to continue her global chart domination in 2015.
What a year it’s been for the Bristol based singer, who back in June would never have imagined the success his first official single, ‘Budapest‘, would go on to achieve. Peaking at number 3 and selling over 600,000 copies, the single secured his place in the prestigious list of successful British acts to emerge in 2014. His album ‘Wanted On Voyage‘ reached number 1 and became the 3rd best selling album of 2014, and the success of his second single ‘Blame It On Me‘ ensured his removal from ‘one hit wonder’ territory. 2015 has already proven to be successful for George, with his album becoming the first number 1 of the year and the one and only Sir Ian McKellen appearing in his latest music video for ‘Listen To the Man‘.
Who would have thought that Ella Henderson, an 18 year old singer songwriter from Lincolnshire who finished 6th in 2012s X Factor, would go on to have such a successful career? Proving that spending 2 years to work on an album whilst seeking out help from global hit makers such as One Republic front man Ryan Tedder is the key to success, Ella has had an amazing year. Her debut single ‘Ghost‘ landed at number 1 and became the 6th best selling single of 2014, whilst her album ‘Chapter One‘ also reached number 1 and Platinum status. 2015 is looking bright for Ella, with the promise of more singles to be released from the album and ‘Ghost‘ steadily climbing the American charts.
Rather surprisingly, it was the British market that was the first to embrace Iggy Azalea, as back in March 2013 ‘Work‘, her debut single, reached the top 20 here in the UK but failed to impact most other markets. It was not until she released her fourth single, ‘Fancy‘, from the album ‘New Classic‘, that Iggy became the mega star that she is today. Landing at number 5 and selling over 400,000 copies, the song proved to be a success in this country, but it was America who allowed her a place in pop royalty. The song spent a staggering 7 weeks at number 1 and her follow up single, ‘Black Widow‘, proved to be no slouch either; reaching number 4 in the UK and number 3 in the US. 2014 kept on giving, with her collaboration with Ariana Grande, ‘Problem‘, topping the chart here in the UK, giving her her first number 1 single. With more singles to be released from the re-packaged version of her album, plus teases on Twitter about a forthcoming second album, one can only wonder what 2015 will hold for the Australian starlet.
With an origin story as interesting as Clean Bandit‘s, their success could be considered inevitable. After meeting in the Cambridge University orchestra, they decided to record their performances and place a dance beat over the top, thus creating their distinctive music style. Despite only achieving minor chart success in March 2013 with ‘Mozart’s House‘, Clean Bandit persevered and in January 2014 they succeeded in producing a monster hit, a feat that most acts could only dream of. ‘Rather Be‘ debuted at number 1 and spent a total of 4 weeks there, and became the second best selling song of last year, only being beaten by Pharrell Williams‘ ‘Happy‘. The song also proved to be a global success, especially in the States where it made the top 10 and sold over two million copies. With a further two top ten hits, plus a top 3 album under their belt, no one can deny that 2014 was a fantastic year for the group.
It is hard to remember a time when the charts were not dominated by Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, a man who is no stranger to chart success. He released the second single, ‘Summer‘, from his 4th studio album, ‘Motion‘, back in March which landed at number 1 and went on to sell over 600,000 copies here in the UK. This was followed by ‘Blame‘ in September, which gave him his 7th number 1 and cemented him as one of the most successful British acts of all time. If this was not enough, he was named the highest paid DJ for a second year running and he continued his run of chart hits in America, with ‘Summer‘ reaching number 7, his highest charting solo single. 2015 is set to be another big year for Mr. Harris: his current single ‘Outside‘ with pop star Ellie Goulding is proving to be another smash hit and the recently announced single ‘Pray To God‘ featuring Californian band Haim looks set to keep the ball rolling well into this year.